Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A bit more touristing in the UK

Getting close to the end of my UK posts.

After cruising instructor I waited in London for a several days to hear back from two potential employers.  Would have sucked to get home and then have to fly right back for an interview.  In the end neither interview happened, but I did enjoy some more touristing.  

I stayed in a cheep hostel in Greenwich.  One day I took the train into London and did a tour on a aquatic bus that was pretty cool.  Had a look around London and decided what else I wanted to see. Here's a video:

Next I spent the day in Greenwich.  I spent the morning at the Royal Observatory.  That is the place where the beginnings of modern navigation were developed.  The observatory has the survey equipment that was used to establish the Greenwich meridian.  This is the East / West point of devision.  All Latitude measurements are distances in degrees from this line.  I got the obligatory photo of my feet on the line, and then went down into the museum of time keeping.  This is important to navigation because if you take a sun site at exactly the same time of day, you can calculate your distance east of west from your start point.  It was a very difficult problem to develop a time piece that would stay accurate on a moving ship.  Most timepieces used a pendulum action that measured out the seconds.  If the length of the stroke changed with the ships movement then the time would be off.  Initially this error was hundreds of miles, but a brilliant man called Harison spent his life working on the problem and on his 4th attempt he built a small timepiece the size of a book that was accurate to about a mile.  Initially the British government, didn't pay for his work, and it took quite a battle to get them to change their mind.  He eventually got an audience with the king, who supported his case and dealt with him honourably.  Here's a BBC show about the chronometer: 

And also some pictures of the Royal Observatory and the time piece.

The last thing I did in Greenwich was to visit the Cutty Sark.  "Cutty Sark" is the fastest tea clipper ever.  She spent he life in the tea trade, and then near the end of the age of sail she carried wool from Australia to London.  She ran with a crew of 20 officers and men and spent her life plying the sea.  Unlike the historic ships I visited "Cuty Sark" went directly from being a working ship to being purchased and preserved.  She is sitting on the hard with a structure build around her.  She has elevator service to all decks, so she is accessible to all.  And for the last time, here's some pics:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Whale in English Bay

It seems there is a humpback whale hanging out in English Bay.  I have been lucky enough to see him 5 times this month.  I have been trying to get a picture every time but no luck.  When I have my camera around my neck, no whale.  When my camera is down below in my bag, the whale comes to visit.  One of these times I'll get a picture.  Here are some taken by JSCA

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Continuing on with my UK trip

After my interlude of touristing, I got back to work.  I did a second Yacht Master prep course which ended with a successful exam this time, and then on to take cruising instructor.  I was so busy during the second prep week that I barely took any pictures.  Lots of night sailing as that was my big problem the 1st time around.

Next I took the train to Cornwall to take Cruising Instructor with a school called Cornish Cruising.  I spent a week getting some great coaching on my instruction skills, and learning more about the RYA standards.  Had an excellent week and completed the course successfully.  Also a very busy week, so not many pictures.  Here's a few of the town of Falmouth and the river Fal though.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Historic Ships

This is yet another post about the cool stuff I saw and did during my Yacht Master trip to the UK.  Last post was about the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and "Victory" and "Mary Rose"

Continuing on from there, I went to see HMS Warrior and M32, also in the historic dockyard.

HMS Warrior has got to be my favourite  warship ever.  She was sailing at the very end of the age of sail.  She is absolutely huge and has both a steam engine and square rig sails.  19 kn under engine and 18 kn under sail.  She also has early breach loaded guns on part of her aft gun deck.  She fired modern looking explosive shells from these guns.  Basically she was the biggest baddest thing on the ocean at the time.  She was so powerful she never fired a shot in anger.  All the bad guys ran away whenever she tried to engage them, and that took some serious running!  She spent her service touring potential hot spots and reminding people that the british navy could kick their ass anytime they felt like it.  Here's some pics.

The last ship I saw at the historic dockyard was M32.  She is a monitor class from WWI  her job was to get in close to the shore or up rivers and bring the fight in close to the enemy.  She served in Galipalee during WWI.  She is painted in her Dazzle camoflage, designed to break up her outline and make her harder for submarines to spot.  Here's some pics:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

More touristing in the UK

Continuing on from my previous post, after I went to the Needles I went to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.  The dockyard is space within the present day navy base that has been used to present the history of the Royal Navy.

For me the main attraction was the ships.  They have the more than 200 year old flagship of Lord Nelson, "Victory" preserved and open for tours.  This ship is up on the hard, and the top masts are down.  She is a very well loved old lady.   She is also still a serving warship as the admiral in charge of the Portsmouth navy base still has his office aboard.

There is quite a large collection of historic ships in the dockyard.  When I was there the Mary Rose Museum was open for tours, showing the preserved starboard side of the Tudor battle ship "Mary Rose" and all of the guns, equipment and the remains of the crew that have been recovered. This ship was King Henry the eighth's flag ship he watched it sink in the Battle of the Solent just off Portsmouth harbour in 1545.  Her starboard side survived buried in the mud with most of her equipment.  The Mary Rose museum has been built around her and is designed to show her hull on one side of the viewing area and the equipment that would have been on that deck on the other.

There are still two more ships to talk about, so I'll continue in my next post

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Touristing in the UK

After a week of STCW, I had a week of touristing around the Isle of White.

My first day off I took the bus out to the needles historic battery and light house.  This is the fortification that defends the western end of the Solent.  I really enjoyed my walk around there.

I also went to Alum Bay, which is next door to the Needles.  This is the site of a very old glass foundary.  They have coloured sand there that has used in glass making for many years.

Here's some pics: